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Construction firms are looking for workers

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Like most other sectors, his industry has concerns about workforce.

The executive director of the North Dakota Association of General Contractors told the Legislature’s interim Government Finance Committee, in the early 2010s, the state had 35,000 people working in construction. But Russ Hanson said thanks to a slowing of the oil boom, and a tightening state construction budget, that number dropped. Hanson said that did turn around in 2019 and 2020.

"It trended back upwards, to close to 30,000," Hanson said. "Then COVID hit."

Hanson said spending on roads and bridges is up, thanks in part to the federal infrastructure bill. But he said there is still an issue with workforce.

"We have to get creative to take an industry that isn't all that attractive, because it's hard work, and sell the fact that it's still a good place to make a living," Hanson said.

Hanson said the industry has sweetened compensation packages.

"It pays well — average annual income is around $66,000 in North Dakota," Hanson said. "In addition to that, just about every construction employee received paid vacation, 80 percent receive paid holidays, and 60 percent receive retirement contributions."

Hanson said the industry now employs around 28,000 people.

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